Iceland Volcano: Cocktail Chatter

Jeanne Sager

Flickr photo by asw909
Every week in cocktail chatter, we tell you what you need to know to sound like an expert at this weekend's play date, dinner party or post office meeting.

This week's cheat sheet: the Iceland volcano eruption.

What it is: The Eyjafjallajökull (say that three times fast) volcano in Iceland came back to life in mid-March after nearly two centuries of dormancy. But it wasn't until this week that the volcano's ash began causing problems in Europe -- it's grounded air traffic across the continent. 

How to say it: EYE-a-fyat-la-jo-kutl

Terms to Know:

Ash Cloud: Miniscule particles of volcanic matter that are held in suspension high up in the atmosphere, this is what's covering much of Europe and making flights impossible.

Seismic Activity: A word you usually hear associated with earthquakes, the vibrations of the earth are being measured to try to determine whether the eruption will worsen or ease off.

Gígjökull glacial tongue: A huge formation of ice on the mountain, the "tongue" has been melting because of the heat of the volcano, causing significant flooding.

#ashtag: Instead of the "hash tag" used on Twitter to classify your tweets, folks have been poking fun at the ash cloud with these. You can also use it as a search term to find interesting tweets on the volcano.

Phrases to drop:

"This is the fourth time Eyjafjallajökull has erupted in 1,100 years."

"World leaders are having a hard time flying into Poland for the president's funeral."

"The reason the jets can't fly is because the tiny volcanic particles can get into the engines and wreak havoc."

Track the ash cloud's predicted spread via the British Weather Service.

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